It is one of the major factors driving violence in prisons – criminal gangs using drones to fly drugs and mobile phones to cell windows.
But when police in London tried to enforce a new law banning all drones from 400 metres of jails it became a farcical Keystone Cops affair, thanks to a less-than-cunning fox.
It happened near HMP Wandsworth in South London, where neighbours say they were woken by the noise of police attempting to intercept a drone seen flying towards the prison.
One witness said that in trying to evade capture the drone got caught in a tree; firemen managed to reach the device and knock it out but before the police could seize it, it was picked up by a ‘quick off the mark’ urban fox – which the officers then pursued.
During the chase, they were alerted by the ‘yelping’ of the animal, which had apparently eaten some of the drugs the drone was carrying, and was now ‘fitting’.